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  • Writer's pictureJoe Gilbert

Fiesta In Santo Tomas Lubao Pampanga!

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

The Philippines is a land of festivals and merrymaking. From grandiose parades to religious pageants, every city, town, and village marks the year through distinct celebrations. Among the most grand and beautiful are Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan. Every May, the sound of bells and music fills the air as communities take to the streets to celebrate the Virgin Mary. And among these festivities, Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan stand out, bringing to life Filipino creativity, faith, and tradition. Lets explore the magnificence of Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan and discover why these celebrations are vital to Filipino culture and identity.

Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan, are two related religious ceremonies that honour the Virgin Mary and commemorate her discovery on the three-day search for the Holy Cross by Empress Helena. Flores de Mayo, meaning "Flowers of May," in Spanish, is a month-long festival that culminates in the Santacruzan procession on May 31st, also known as the Feast of the Queenship of Mary.

During Flores de Mayo, churches decorate sacred altars with flowers, and devotees offer flowers to statues of the Virgin Mary while reciting the rosary. Many towns also host beauty contests where young girls are crowned the Reyna Elena or the Queen of May. The most significant events of Flores de Mayo are the nightly gatherings and recitations of the litany of the Virgin, accompanied by cultural performances like dances, choral chanting, and plays.

Reyna Elana

Santacruzan, on the other hand, is a religious procession that depicts the discovery of the True Cross, with the Reyna Elena leading the parade holding a cross-shaped sceptre. This parade is also called the processions of queens and extraordinary beauties, with many women and young girls taking part in the parade, dressed in traditional Filipiniana dresses, and bearing flowers, candles, and religious symbols. Each lady in the procession represents a particular virtue, like Faith, Hope, or Charity. Following suit, come the biblical characters like Moses, King David, and Queen Sheba, culminating with the parade of St. Helena and the True Cross.

Aside from its religious and cultural significance, Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan also promote unity and communal harmony. The celebration highlights the Filipino spirit of bayanihan, where people come together to help and support each other. From decorating the chapels and town halls, creating ornate floats, sewing traditional gowns, and preparing local delicacies, people demonstrate their creativity, resourcefulness, and solidarity.

But Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan are not only restricted to the Philippines. Filipino communities all over the world, like Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States, also hold Flores de Mayo processions, bringing a piece of Philippine culture and tradition to their new homes.

In conclusion, Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan are a testament to the long history and culture of the Philippines. These festivities celebrate the Filipinos' deep faith, creative spirit, and community spirit, promoting unity and brotherhood. Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan are more than just cultural or religious rituals; they honour the virtues that Filipinos hold dear, and their rich symbolism reflects the country's diverse customs and heritage. Every year, these celebrations unite Filipinos around the world, reminding them of their roots and identity, and keeping their traditions alive for generations to come. May the Virgin Mary continue to bless all of us.




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